On receipt of the complaint, at the preliminary stage, the complaint section scrutinizes each complaint and accordingly process complaint filed against the Press, under Section 14 of the Press Council Act, 1978 and complaint lodged by the Press, under Section 13 of the Press Council Act, 1978.
Case numbers are allotted to each complaint and separate registers are maintained for cases initiated under Section 14 and 13 of the Press Council Act, 1978.
The section primarily scrutinizes the complaints whether the complainant has fulfilled all the mandatory requirements of the Council defined under regulation 3 in case of a complaint against the Press and regulation 14 and 3(2) of the Press Council (Procedure for Inquiry) Regulation, 1979, in case of a complaint by the Press. Where a complainant does not comply with the requirements under the respective sections in his initial complaint, the complaint is returned by order of Chairman asking the complainant to bring it in conformity with such requirements and present it within such time as the Chairman may deem fit in that behalf.
After fulfilling the mandatory requirements, Show Cause Notice/Notice for Comments/Notice for Statement in Reply is issued to the respondent.
In response to Council’s Notice on receipt of the written statement from the respondent(s), same is forwarded to complainant for information/counter comments (if any) and the matter is treated as ripe for hearing and the file is transferred to Meetings Section for placing it before the Inquiry Committee for hearing.
If no response is received from the respondent, a Time-Bound Reminder is issued to the respondent, one month after the issuance of the Show Cause Notice and the matter is treated as ripe for hearing and the file is transferred to the Meetings section for placing it before the Inquiry Committee for hearing.
Closure of Complaints at Preliminary Stage under the following Regulations of the Press Council Act, 1978
Where a complainant fails to comply with the requirements within four weeks of service of the PCI’s letter, the Chairman of the Press Council of India (PCI) may decide to close action in the matter under Regulation 4(2) of the Press Council (Procedure for Inquiry) Regulation, 1979 for being defective in compliance with the mandatory requirements, thereafter the Council in its next meeting is apprised of the decision.
Further, under Section 14 (3) of the Press Council Act, 1978, the complaint Section after determining a complaint, if, found to be sub-judice may also process the matter for closure as Press Council is not authorized to hold an inquiry into any matter in respect of which any proceeding is pending in the court of law.
Complaint section also processes case for closure if after scrutinizing, the complaint is found pertaining to electronic or social media or even OTT platforms content are beyond the jurisdiction of the Press Council of India i.e. functioning under the Press Council Act, 1978 that authorises the Council to hold inquiry into matters concerning print media only.